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A Proud Legacy August 12, 2007

Posted by Dwight and Lynn Furrow in Current Events.
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Since Ronald Reagan announced that government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem, rhetorical attacks on government have been the centerpiece of political discourse in this country. We are now governed by the “philosophy” that everything the government does is wrong unless it’s blowing stuff up. As a consequence, we have elected and appointed government officials to perform jobs to which they are philosophically opposed.

None of us would seek out a doctor who didn’t care about the health of her patients. But when it comes to government, electing people who are opposed to government seems to be one of the pillars of wisdom. Then we sit transfixed, appalled, yet perplexed as we stumble incompetently around the Middle East, allow bridges and cities to collapse, and witness the transformation of the Department of Justice into the Department of Torture and Tyranny. 

The legacy of this perverted logic, as this report by Democracy Corps shows, is that we have an electorate that believes government cannot solve problems. By 57 percent to 29 percent, Americans believe that government makes it harder for people to get ahead in life instead of helping people. 83 percent say that if the government had more money, it would waste it rather than spend it well.

Yet, when we look at the problems we confront as a nation–global warming and resource depletion, terrorism, immigration, a broken health care system, aging infrastructure, competing in a global market while maintaining health and safety standards, educational deficits, etc.–it is hard to imagine how any of them can be solved without competent government. 

There is no issue more important than rebuilding confidence in government. It is anybody’s guess how we do that with a public that mistrusts government and politicians willing to pander to their cynicism.

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